Bruno Senna has admitted that his test with Honda in Barcelona next week is tantamount to a shoot-out for a Formula 1 race drive at the squad in 2009 – as he bids to re-establish the erstwhile relationship between the Japanese manufacturer and the Senna family name.
The 2008 GP2 Series Vice-Champion will take to the track in the RA108 at the Circuit de Catalunya alongside countryman Lucas di Grassi, similarly a front-runner and race-winner in F1's feeder category. The understanding is clear – should either of the two impress sufficiently, the seat alongside Jenson Button at the Brackley-based outfit next year will likely be theirs'.
“I will do the best I can and I hope it is enough to earn the seat,” Senna is quoted as having said by F1SA
. “It will be up to the team to decide, of course, but I have to do everything I can to show that I have the necessary potential.”
Senna's legendary uncle Ayrton – tragically killed in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola – claimed all three of his drivers' world crowns in the top flight with Honda power, and his 25-year-old nephew is clearly keen to make the most of his testing 'audition' as he endeavours to follow in such illustrious wheeltracks.
“It would be something special,” he confessed in an interview with Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport
. “I think Ayrton and Honda had such a good relationship because they shared the same values, like dedication to the job.”
That is a trait the younger Senna has clearly inherited too, and he is particularly enthusiastic, he revealed, about the possibility of working with Honda team principal Ross Brawn, the strategic genius who helped to mastermind all seven of Michael Schumacher's F1 titles.
“I have worked hard to prepare,” the São Paulista underlined, “particularly on my neck. A few days ago I was in Brackley to talk with the engineers, and learn the various systems and procedures. I also think it is very exciting to work with a man as experienced as successful as he (Brawn) is. I can learn so much.”
It has been revealed that in addition to Senna and di Grassi, Button and test driver Alex Wurz will also turn out for Honda in Barcelona – in a further hint that Rubens Barrichello's chances of retaining his seat and extending the longest career in the sport's history are all-but zero.
Button and Wurz will both be at the wheel of a modified 2008 car, featuring slick tyres and some 2009 components, whilst Senna and di Grassi will run in the regular RA108 and will spend a day-and-a-half on-track apiece.